From “Sorrow and Bliss” by Meg Mason to “Queen of the Owls” by Barbara Linn Probst.
This is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:
- Link the books together in any way you like.
- Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books are My Favourite and Best.
- Share these rules in your post.
- Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
- Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
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- Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.
THANKS FOR PLAYING!
This month we start with “Sorrow and Bliss” by Meg Mason!
This month (June 4, 2022), the chain begins with “Sorrow and Bliss” by Meg Mason. According to Goodreads: “This novel is about a woman called Martha. She knows there is something wrong with her but she doesn’t know what it is. Her husband Patrick thinks she is fine. He says everyone has something, the thing is just to keep going. … By the time Martha finds out what is wrong, it doesn’t really matter anymore. It is too late to get the only thing she has ever wanted. Or maybe it will turn out that you can stop loving someone and start again from nothing – if you can find something else to want.” Well… I already dislike Patrick, and I don’t think that well of Martha, either. I have read a few novels about people who go through a personal crises or two, although very few of them are “hilarious” as the blurb on the cover says this one is (they are supposed to be funny, but I find most of them to be sad). This is probably not my type of book, but hey, it was short listed for the 2022 Women’s Prize in Fiction, so it obviously had an audience.
When I saw the cover of this book, I couldn’t help feeling that the woman looked like she was in despair of something, and that reminded me of the cover of Vigdis Hjorth’s novel “Long Live the Post Horn!” which was one of the books I read for Women in Translation in 2020 (the author is from Norway). This is a very unusual, but interesting book (that no one has ever heard of), about a media consultant who is going through both a work crisis and a personal one, that I almost stopped reading in the middle. I’m glad I finished it, though, because by the time I had, I really felt for our protagonist here.
Using the word “long” from the previous book and sticking with a translation, we move on to Fredrik Backman and his touching novella “And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer.” Now, sadly, because of my own father, but I know exactly how painful it is to watch someone who has been a large part of your life, slowly succumb to dementia, and that’s what this novella is about – in this case, between a child and his grandfather. As usual, Backman will make you reach for the tissues. Highly recommended for anyone who needs a good book to cry over!
The journey that Noah and his grandfather take together in Backman’s book brought to mind the novel “Moonglow” by Michael Chabon. Interestingly enough, Chabon based a lot of this story on his own family’s history, with a step-grandfather whose memories are beginning to fade, and his relationship with his step-grandson Michael. Although this book didn’t make me cry, it did make me laugh. Plus, Chabon brings a twist into this novel about half way through that reveals some unpleasant secrets, and colors everything you read before then, while also helping you understand how he comes to the conclusion of this story. And excellent read!
For the next link, I’ll go with another one-word entitled novel by another Michael – and yes, you guessed it – a Michael Ondaatje! I’m talking about his 2018 novel “Warlight.” While the young man in this story has been seemingly abandoned by his parents and left in the care of a stranger, there’s no dementia here, but there are some strange and suspect goings on. What I found fascinating about this book was that it seemed to say that although you might sometimes feel that certain people have no significant impact on your life, in fact, there are no real minor characters, you just don’t always understand their importance at the time.
From there, I think maybe I’ll do another title link, with the word “light” and bring in a book I haven’t thought of for a long while. That would be “A Light of Her Own” by Carrie Callaghan. This biographical, historical fiction novel is about Judith Leyster, a woman living in The Netherlands during the 17th century, who wants to be a painter. Obviously, her gender made any efforts to become recognized extremely difficult. And yet, through sheer tenacity and extreme talent, she was the first woman admitted to the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke!
Sticking with the world of art, brings me to “Queen of the Owls,” the debut novel by Barbara Linn Probst. While Elizabeth, the protagonist of this novel isn’t a painter, she is however, writing her doctoral dissertation on the artwork of Georgia O’Keeffe who was considered to be quite the avant-garde artist in her day, with her graphic portrayals of feminist themes in her paintings. Through investigating O’Keeffe and trying to get to understand the woman behind the art (and not just the paintings themselves), Elizabeth begins to investigate her own identity and femininity, which leads to some very interesting, personal revelations.